The first hour in Nepal didn’t quite go to plan. As you aren’t allowed to take Nepalese Rupees into the country, the plan was to withdraw some cash at the airport. After two failed attempts at the airport ATM, I started to panic. Thankfully, our travel credit card saved the day.
If you are thinking of going to Nepal, make as few cash withdrawals as you can. We don’t pay any fees with our bank, but the local ATMs charge you 500 Rs. (~£3.28) for the privilege – in addition to any of your own bank charges.
Outside the airport we haggled the cost of our taxi, only to have the driver swapped and pretend like the conversation had never happened. Having just disembarked our flight, we were severely jet lagged so didn’t bother putting up much of a fight – it was only another 66p after all. Lesson learnt.
Our hotel was right in the heart of Thamel – an incredibly busy tourist hotspot, dotted with imitation hiking shops and street vendors trying to sell you a myriad of things. It had a certain charm to it and grew on us by the hour.
Hotel Yala Peak was modestly priced at just over £10 a night – you definitely get what you pay for, but being such great value for money and having extremely helpful, friendly staff certainly made it for us. We did experience a couple power cuts, but that may have been caused by the renovation work downstairs or possibly part of the parcel of being in Nepal.
Although it is early days, we really love it here. As expected as Western tourists, there are a handful of over enthusiastic shop keepers and ticket touts keen to make us a sale – but the abundance of charming little cafes and restaurants that you can slip into makes it all worthwhile.
We didn’t get up to much, as the first couple days were mainly to get over the jet lag, adjust to our new lifestyle and get our bearings for when we returned. We did find a couple spots that we really enjoyed.
There was a beautiful restaurant just on our doorstep that we went on our first night. Rosemary Kitchen And Coffee Shop offers a varying range of cuisines at a decent price, served in a pleasant courtyard setting. There’s no surprise that my wife managed to find sausage and mash this far away from home.
A great little cafe in Thamel was OR2K. It is a popular place and easy to see why. I tried my first Dal Bhat there and thankfully loved it, which is a good thing as I think it’s all I will be eating whilst trekking. Great place to spend a couple hours reading and drinking.
Another place worth mentioning is Mitho Restaurant, which served up some great Indian food on our last night.
We booked our bus to Pokhara from the front desk at our hotel for 800 Rs. each (~£5.25) and although we might have got it slightly cheaper elsewhere, the fact that they also dropped us off at the bus stop took away all the stress. Excited to see what our first bus journey will be like. I hear we have seats with a scenic view.
Now all that’s left is for us to gear ourselves up for the 6 hour bus ride to Pokhara tomorrow morning.
Until next time.
P.S. don’t worry mum(s), the bank card works now.